One of the most difficult aspects of the points and miles hobby is trying to meet the minimum spend when you open a new account. For example, some of the premium travel credit cards have spending requirements in the $4000 to $5000 range, which isn’t always easy to accomplish. In fact, we previously did a video/post on some tips for meeting your minimum spend, so definitely check it out if you’re looking for ways to do it. Though did you know that it’s possible to get an opening bonus extension?

Sometimes it’s just not possible to meet the spend requirements in the time period. Maybe you have a sudden emergency or life change, or perhaps it’s an issue of cash flow. Whatever the reason, I recently learned that it’s possible to ask for an extension on your minimum spend deadline. What I found interesting too is that issuers seem willing to accommodate folks, especially those that are proactive.

Below is a list of tips and considerations when asking for an extension.

1. Understand when your spending window starts: 

This is a common misconception and reason why folks might not meet their minimum spend. A lot of people reasonably assume that the clock starts as soon as they receive or activate their card. However, it starts as soon as you’re approved. So, if your minimum spend deadline is three months or 90 days, you might actually have 75 days to complete it since it often takes a week or two to get your new credit card in the mail.

2. Spend more than the minimum spend:

I’ve been guilty of this one! In the past, I’ve tried to spend up to the exact amount required. However, I then realized that the annual fee that was charged did not count toward to the minimum spend. Also, things like refunds, cash advances, or other fees do not count either, so it’s worth carefully calculating the amount and also spending more to create some buffer.

3. Contact the issuer:

The general consensus online is that it’s best to call the issuer in order to request an extension. However, you can also use secure messaging and chat channels to contact the issuer. I personally recommend calling since it’s easier to explain your situation and more personal. It might be my perception, but I think it’s easier to deliver bad news over writing rather than having to tell the person over the phone. I honestly think the odds are in your favor if you’re able to speak to someone about your situation, rather than just messaging them.

4. Be sincere and polite:

I recommend being fully honest about why you may need the extra time, and explaining why you may not make the deadline. Maybe you didn’t realize that the annual fee was already charged, or perhaps you didn’t expect to receive a refund on an order. Whatever the reason might be, just remember to be honest and polite. As with a lot of things in life, and especially with travel, your approach and demeanor can greatly influence the treatment that you receive.

5. Keep records of your application approvals:

Whenever I apply for a card, I take a quick screenshot of the offer that I am applying for and save any messages regarding the application and approval. This can help if there are any issues or questions on the timing or offer. Also, I track all my credit cards in a spreadsheet. For more information, check out our video/post on the topic, and download our free Credit Card Tracker template on Google Sheets.

6. Don’t wait too long to call:

If you’re close to the deadline, or even just passed it, call the issuer. You don’t want to wait months after the deadline to ask for the bonus. In this case, it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive.

Do you have any experience with getting your minimum spend deadline extended? If so, please share your experience in the comment section below.

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